Ready or not, Halloween is almost here. The holiday synonymous with pumpkins and candy is celebrated by an estimated 175 million Americans who are expected to spend $9 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based retail trade association.
Americans are planning to spend a total of $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on decorations, $2.6 billion on candy, and $400 million on greeting cards this Halloween. With so much money and time put into the scariest holiday of the year, be sure you prep properly. This includes making sure your home is ready for the big day. You don't want to waste all that money after all!
Some 30 percent of revelers will take their children trick-or-treating, and there are 120 million potential stops for collecting treats, according to the U.S. Census. Avoid classic Halloween pranks like having your house egged, trees wrapped in toilet paper, amd generally being the most hated house on Halloween by being prepared. Avoid these top 10 pitfalls to ensure your Halloween is filled with treats (not tricks). istockphoto.com
Giving Out Unwrapped Candy
While we love candy, flinging a fist full of unwrapped candy corn into our plastic pumpkins is annoying. Not only do we run the risk of an ooey, gooey mess, but we also heed the Cleveland Clinic's advice to not to eat unwrapped candy. The same goes for those Pinterest-perfect candy apples and homemade treats. Unless we know you, we aren't eating those (but we might Instagram them before they get tossed!). Consider stocking up on the most popular candy from the decade you were born or the most popular Halloween candy in every state. istockphoto.com
No Allergy-Friendly Options
Most trick-or-treaters want that instant gratification of reaching into their sacks and munching on a (wrapped) snack. Some 70 percent of those estimated 175 million Halloween celebrants plan to hand out candy, according to the National Retail Federation. But there are many trick-or-treaters who are allergic to candy ingredients like nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat. There are 15 million Americans who have food allergies, with one in 13 children affected, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education, an organization that works to improve the quality of life and health for people with food allergies. Consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, which encourages families to paint their pumpkins teal, the color of food allergy awareness, to signify there are candy alternatives like stickers, coloring books, glow sticks, and small toys available that everyone can enjoy (add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map). Participants can opt to give out candy, too (just place in a separate bowl and ask trick-or-treaters to choose between candy or a prize). Who doesn't like prizes? istockphoto.com
Giving Out Bad Candy
What's worse than no candy? Bad candy that you can't or won't eat. Those disc-shaped aqua blue mint candies that we think are really just lozenges and stale candy from any holiday other than Halloween are a no-go for us. The most popular candies in America are Skittles, M&Ms, Snickers, Reese's peanut butter cups, and Starbursts, according to CandyStore.com, an online bulk candy retailer that has also ranked the three most popular candies in each state and compiled them in a cool interactive map. We also taste-tested pounds of candy to determine the worst ones so you don't have to. Check out our list of popular Halloween candies from worst to best to avoid disappointing the entire neighborhood. istockphoto.com
Nothing in life is more aggravating than ambiguity. Are you welcoming trick-or-treaters or not? A lack of decorations, no pumpkin on the stoop, or the porch light turned off are clues that you're intentionally (but maybe unintentionally) trying to avoid the holiday.
If you are celebrating, don't take forever to answer the door. We don't want to stand around - then give up - only for you to come to the door when we're already halfway to the next house. It's a missed opportunity for you and us. Perhaps you don't want to continually be interrupted by your Netflix binge - we get it - so consider leaving a bowl of candy out front for us to help ourselves. Just be sure to not put all the candy out at once - it's too tempting for the first trick-or-treaters to take it all. There are fewer things that are more frightening than spying a huge bowl on the porch only to peer in and see there's nothing there. Be sure to replenish the bowl during commercial breaks. Likewise, enlist your family and friends to take turns answering the door. istockphoto.com
Being Too Scary
Some 50 percent of Halloween celebrants will decorate their homes, and 48 percent of children will wear costumes with a princess, a superhero, or Batman, according to the National Retail Federation. Perhaps you think it might be fun to randomly pop out from behind the bushes, but scaring the daylights out of us and small children is no fun, nor are having decorations or wearing a costume that are too scary (after all, the most popular costumes for adults are witches, vampires, and zombies, according to the National Retail Federation). If we can't tell that it's you in a costume, you might be trying too hard. Try to strike a balance between festive and fun, but not gory. istockphoto.com
Making it difficult to get to your door (or finding it) is a major pet peeve. Failing to light the way to your front door is annoying (not to mention that we might trip!). Be sure to illuminate the walkway to the front door and clear away any debris like leaves, branches, trash, and wires from decorations. istockphoto.com
Asking us to chant "Trick-or-treat!" or even sing "Trick-or-treat/Smell my feet/Give me something good to eat" is fine, but don't swap our treats for tricks! When we yell trick-or-treat, we aren't really inviting an option. What we're really after is treats, so prepare like there really is only one option. Repeat after us: treats-or-treats! istockphoto.com
Really? We get that obesity is an issue in the U.S., but now is really not the time to make a statement about healthy, clean eating. Save the apples for bobbing or your Thanksgiving pie. If you insist on tossing us healthy candy, at least make sure it's something that we don't realize is a healthier alternative, like dark chocolate or something on this list. istockphoto.com
Running Out of Candy
If you don't want people to freak out, make sure you stock up. An estimated 41.1 million children ages 5 to 14 went door-to-door seeking treats in 2017, according to the U.S. Census. Consider how much candy you went through last year and add an extra bag. If you're new to the neighborhood, ask your neighbors how much candy they buy. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, look for sales, or consider buying in bulk online to save money. Be sure to search for store coupons or online promo codes for added savings. istockphoto.com
The biggest trick of all? The lights are on but nobody's home. Don't be that one house that doesn't participate at all. Even if Halloween isn't your thing, consider joining the fun. It's a great way to meet your neighbors, see cute costumes, and be a kid again. Plus, staying home ensures you've skipped these overrated Halloween attractions.
More From The Daily Meal:
How Much Candy Should You Really Allow Your Kids Per Day?
The Best Pumpkin Spice Lattes in Every State (That Aren't From Starbucks)
The Most Iconic Dessert From Every State
Every Recipe You'll Need to Get You Through the Holidays
These Foods Can Mess With Your Medication istockphoto.com